Groundbreaking proprietary verification program advances social responsibility throughout the supply chain.
Oakland, Calif. (March 6, 2013) – Numi Organic Tea is pleased to introduce the new Fair Labor Practices (FLP) program. This proprietary verification program is a continuous improvement model that focuses on the labor and workplace conditions throughout Numi’s entire foreign supply chain.
The FLP program can be applied to any agricultural supply chain with annual third-party verification audits conducted by SCS Global Services (SCS) or other authorized verification bodies. FLP is a unique social verification model in several ways:
- Environmental Compliance: Organic certification is a prerequisite for the FLP program, ensuring workers and communities are safe from harmful chemicals.
- Entire Supply Chain: Each step of the overseas supply chain is audited for verification, while most other models audit only the farm.
- Continuous Improvement: As opposed to a pass/fail system, FLP is a continuous improvement program that requires year-over-year verifications that include recommended improvements against the standard annually.
- Direct Partnerships: The FLP program encourages companies to have a direct role in the social development of their supply chain, allowing deeper intimacy with the resources dedicated to their social responsibility initiatives.
- Complementary to Fair Trade Certification: FLP can be applied to both individual products and entire supply chains, giving brands the ability to socially verify portions of their supply chain that aren’t certifiable under current Fair Trade standards (i.e. shipping, packaging).
Numi has been utilizing the FLP program for more than four years and it has been the brand’s playbook for perpetual improvement and positive change with multiple supply chains partners in China. In 2013 Numi will have all six organic pu-erh tea blends, the Indulgent Pu-erh Tea Collection gift set, High Mountain Black Brewed Iced Tea and Chinese Breakfast Tea verified Fair Labor.
“The Fair Labor Practices program is our guidebook for continuous improvement” says Brian Durkee, VP of Operations for Numi Organic Tea. “We take great care in developing meaningful relationships with our suppliers, and the Fair Labor Practices program helps us accomplish that.”
“At Numi, we are constantly working to improve our contributions to the community we work with; both locally in Oakland and our global community of people involved in our supply chain,” says Ahmed Rahim, Co-Founder, CEO and Chief Alchemist for Numi Organic Tea. “We are proud to launch the Fair Labor Practices program, both to demonstrate our commitment to advancing fair labor standards and improving workplace conditions but also to inspiring others to join us in this mission.”
Creation of the Fair Labor Practices Program
The Fair Labor Practices program was created by Numi and SCS Global Services (SCS) in 2007. Numi believed there was a need for a social certification that allowed a manufacturer to have a direct impact on its entire supply chain by auditing the labor conditions every step of the way. Numi approached SCS, a certification organization highly acclaimed for its work in sustainability, to collaborate on a solution. SCS was a founding member of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and has been the conformity assessment partner for Fair Trade USA since October 2011.
Now under Numi’s ownership, the FLP program is a continuous improvement “verification” model. SCS has been appointed the third-party auditor for the verification process. To obtain a “verified” status, a set of baseline requirements will need to be met during the first audit. From there, the brand must engage with its supply chain partners to implement the necessary changes required to achieve significant improvements year-over-year and meet additional requirements in their operations.
The core areas of focus under Numi’s FLP program include the following:
- Hiring and Employment Practices: Hiring and wages standards, minimum and maximum working hours, freedom of association, vacation and leave allocation, and no child or forced labor.
- Workplace Conditions: Sanitation standards, adequate housing, worker training, occupational health and safety, and availability of human resources services.
- Sustainable Agriculture: Organic certification is a prerequisite for the FLP program, ensuring workers and communities are safe from harmful chemicals.
- Worker and Worker Family Access to Services: Access to education, health services, and transportation
In addition to expanding the program within its own supply chain, Numi intends to expand the FLP program to other brands across multiple categories later this year through the Numi Foundation. Numi aims for the FLP to be a robust program that communicates to consumers a brand’s commitment to ensuring that the products they purchase utilize fair and equitable treatment of all workers, and creates an opportunity for companies to improve relations with their supply-chain partners.
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NUMI ORGANIC TEA
Founded in 1999 by brother and sister team Ahmed Rahim (the alchemist) and Reem Rahim (the artist), Numi Organic Tea is a purveyor of premium quality organic and fair trade certified teas and teasans. Numi blends its organic teas with only real herbs, fruits, flowers and spices—not adding “natural” flavorings or perfumes. All Numi products are packaged in recycled-boxes and non-GMO verified biodegradable bags and are available in retail outlets in more than 30 countries worldwide, including the U.S., Canada, UK, Denmark, Australia, Korea, the Netherlands and online at www.NumiTea.com. An award-winning social enterprise and founding B-Corporation member, Numi supports community development projects worldwide. To learn more, visit NumiTea.com and follow Numi at Facebook.com/NumiTea and Twitter.com/NumiTea.
SCS GLOBAL SERVICES
SCS Global Services (SCS) has provided global leadership in third-party environmental and sustainability certification, auditing, testing, and standards development for nearly 30 years. Its programs span multiple industries, recognizing achievements in green building, product manufacturing, food and agriculture, forestry, retail, and more. SCS provides accredited services under a wide range of internationally recognized certification programs. SCS is a chartered benefit corporation and Certified B Corp™, reflecting its commitment to socially and environmentally responsible business practices.
THE NUMI FOUNDATION
The Numi Foundation’s mission is to foster thriving communities by supporting initiatives that nurture art, education, health and our natural environment. Learn more at www.NumiFoundation.org